Think You’re Choosing the Healthiest Take-out?

Do you think you could choose healthy take-out?

We all know that “take-out” food as a rule is unhealthy.  But sometimes, there is just no way of getting around it.  Sometimes we like to fool ourselves into thinking that we can pick a healthy food from a take out menu and turn a blind eye to the nutritional information because you think “there’s no way this can be bad for me”.

Well think again….

In the recent blog post “9 Unhealthiest Takeout Foods” the author points out some interesting facts:

(I have to admit..while I never thought these were “healthy” I was amazed at the nutrition facts)

  1. California rolls:   instead of ingesting beneficial omega-3’s from fresh fish, you’re only taking in empty calories. Not only is artificial crab meat highly processed with added starches, vegetable oil, and MSG, it also contains high amounts of sodium. Whenever possible, opt for real fish, and sneak some extra fiber into the roll by swapping in brown rice instead of plain.
  2. Chicken Curry: for those of you who eat meat, chicken is usually a safe healthy choice.  But the culprit here is the curry itself. Curry sauces often include large amounts of cream, coconut milk, or ground cashews to thicken the sauce. Instead, choose anything prepared tandoori-style, especially if that dish includes turmeric, which many doctors say helps prevent cancers by blocking a biological pathway needed for the development of melanoma and other cancers.
  3. Broccoli Cheddar Soup: Not all soups that are stocked with vegetables are good for you. Among the worst offenders is the takeout favorite, broccoli cheddar. It has a base of cheese and cream, and sky-high amounts of sodium. One 12 oz. serving of broccoli cheddar soup at Au Bon Pain will set you back 21 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, and nearly 1000 mg of sodium—nearly half your entire recommended daily allowance. If you can find it, opt for a soup with a legume base like lentil or black bean. If you’re still not sure, stick to soups that have a clear broth rather than ones with thick and creamy bases.
  4. Tofu and mixed vegetables: Chinese…one of the most taken take outs.  If you think you did the right thing by choosing sweet and sour tofu, think again. On average, this dish packs up to 900 calories and 2,200mg of sodium. You can thank the deep-fried soy product and a generous dose of sauce for this. Do yourself a favor and ask for this dish stir-fried instead. Or opt for Moo Goo Gai Pan and brown rice. At only 600 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat, it’s a much lighter option.
  5. Salad with creamy dressing :  When it comes to pre-made salads, steer clear of toppings: Cheese, meats, salted nuts, and creamy dressings can counter all the nutrients those veggies are adding to your diet. Case in point: Chili’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken.  This salad comes with a 1,010-calorie price tag and 76 grams of fat (blame it on fried croutons, gloppy dressing, and cheese). When in doubt, make sure that dressing comes on the side, and only choose salads that include one additional non-fruit or veggie topping.
  6. Smoothies:  Cold and frosty, smoothies may seem like perfectly healthy post-workout pick-me-ups, but they’re often loaded with sweetened syrups and fat. Don’t even think about downing one of these drinks as a protein boost. Smoothie King’s “The Hulk” smoothie will set you back 1,030 calories!! It also contains 32 grams of fat—an insane way to round out an exercise routine. It’s time to stop thinking of smoothies as meal substitutions and choose lighter versions that include only fruit and low-fat yogurt.
  7. Yogurt as a snack: While it’s true that there’s nothing wrong with yogurt itself, the extra helping of high-fructose sweetener at the bottom of those single-serve cups adds an extra 100 calories. And don’t think it’s better just because it’s organic: Stonyfield Farm is one of the worst offenders, notorious for its heavy hand when it comes to added sugars. A 6 oz. container of their Chocolate Underground yogurt has 220 calories, 36 grams of sugar, and 20 mg. of cholesterol. Instead, take control of how much sugar goes into your snack and go for plain Greek yogurt, or better yet, soy yogurt with fruit, which contains only 90 calories per 6 oz. serving, and the added bonus of extra protein.
  8. Trail mix: These days, store-bought trail mixes are often loaded with banana chips, chocolate chips, and apple chips — none of which do your body any favors. One oz. of banana chips packs in 150 calories, 9.5 grams of fat (8 of them saturated), and 20 grams of carbohydrates. As a reference point, the same amount of potato chips contains the same amount of calories and fat (with only 3 of them saturated.) If you’re craving a crunchy snack, go for lightly salted almonds or cashews, which at least deliver high amounts of protein, potassium, and iron along with their higher calorie counts.
  9. Banana bread:One slice of banana bread at Starbucks packs a whopping 490 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 46 grams of sugar–three components that, together, are otherwise known as the holy trinity of weight gain. Instead, lose the bread and just eat an actual banana.

Just be careful when your taking out, that you don’t put on those extra pounds!

Categories: diet, health and fitness, health and wellness, healthy diet

Tags: , ,

16 replies

  1. Quick question: you mention California Rolls as a culprit. What about cafeteria sushi? With everything coming out about aquaculture, I wonder if spicy tuna rolls or salmon rolls are good for you?

    • Since I wrote this I’ve gone completely plant-based, so my sushi now consists of brown rice avocado and cucumber rolls! Wild caught fish are always better then farmed. Anyone who eats fish should never eat farmed because the fish are sick and full of pharmaceuticals. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I just discovered your blog this morning after googling about the Brazilian Blow Out, & I’ve spent the last hour perusing it. It is terrific! Thanks for sharing so much information in a pleasant format. Per this topic, I was SHOCKED to find out how fattening Falafel is. It makes sense when you think about it, but now I realize this is a treat–not everyday lunch.

  3. This was good information but sort of a bummer too because plenty of people have made assumptions that these things are about as healthy as food can get for you.

    Maybe it’s time everyone took a page from my book and made caffeine and raw starch the base of their diet.

    • Ha!!I think caffeine and raw starch is fine as long as you make sure you get enough nicotine (preferably 8-10 times a day) and don’t sweat or breathe hard (unless it’s during sex).
      I feel honored that you would take the time to comment.Thanks

  4. I have to admit every now and again I love to eat a fast food meal that is nothing but bad. But as I have gotten older I find that the fries are too much so when possible I substitute the apple slices.

    • Once in a blue moon is not going to ruin your weeks of being good, so I think if it makes you happy, it’s OK.
      Yeah, I can’t do fries either. Did you know that each french fry has 1gram of fat? and the oil is sometimes used for a week without changing it!

  5. This is why I stay as far away from Fast Food places as possible. There is not really much you can order which calorie intake is lower than 500 calories. Better to just stay away.

  6. It is so easy to fool yourself into thinking you are eating right.

    My question is, do you have better alternatives for those days where eating in is not an option? Let’s face it there will always be those days. I know which ones I prefer but I would love to hear from you!

    • Great question…it really depends on where you are…there are many “fast food” places that are popping up in the US where nutrition is not kept a secret. Froots is one place I go a lot. They offer fat free low calories smoothies that are made with just fruit and fat free yogurt. You can get shots of wheat grass etc if you want them.
      If I am “on the road” I will often go to sandwich shops (like Subway) where I can control the things that go into my sandwich. I always get the veggie: spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, olives, cheese (sometimes), onions on a 9- grain bun…a squirt of vinegar and a shake of pepper and it’s really good. A 6 inch sandwich is 250 calories.. and 2 grams of fat. (add 50 calories 4 gm fat for cheese) then…2 packs (they’re small) of apple slices for 70 calories. This will fill you up.
      If you can, it’s a good idea to have places “in mind” where you are going to be, so you know that’s where you’re going and you won’t be tempted by the first place you see.
      Not easy, but definitely do-able!!

  7. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Lost my dad too. Even though it’s been 8 years…I still need him.

  8. I have always been suspicious of frozen yoghurt touting themselves to be healthy…thanks for reassuring me that plain greek yoghurt is ok 🙂 I quite like yoghurt sourish

    • Yeah, for those who eat dairy, greek yogurt gives you a lot more protein than traditional—soy is another great option for high protein,, although not always available everywhere (I have to go to a specialty store for it) Soy is great for protecting the heart especially in women. And higher protein means it stays in your stomach so you’re not hungry. Thanks for your comment BJ!!

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